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How Do I Get Birth Control if I Don’t Have Health Insurance?

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Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 1-in-4 women with insurance had to pay out-of-pocket for their birth control. In 2014, after the ACA went into effect, that number decreased to 1-in-28.

However, two new rules have stripped back the ACA’s contraception coverage. These rules allow employers to remove birth control coverage due to religious reasons or moral objections. If they did not want to have their insurance plans cover birth control, they didn’t have to.

Due to these new rules, lots of women may have to turn to alternative sources for birth control coverage. Other women who don’t have any insurance need to find ways to receive birth control, as well, as prices can be higher without health insurance.

What prices look like without insurance

In 2017, the National Women’s Health Network examined the real-life cost of what birth control looked like without insurance:

  • Implants that last around three years, like Implanon or Nexplanon, cost about $800 per unit
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs), such as Mirena or Paragard, can cost upwards of $1,000 per unit
  • Birth control pills are slightly cheaper, ranging from $15 to $50 per pack, depending on the brand
  • Patches are around $100 per month
  • The shot (such as Depo-Provera) clocks in around $240 per year out-of-pocket and NuvaRing totals around $1,000 per year

US News also took a look at birth control costs and found that the diaphragm can cost around $15. Sterilisation, or vasectomies for men and getting your tubes tided for women, are considered to be permanent, so it’s a one-time cost. However, these surgical procedures usually cost around $1,000 for men and $6,000 or more for women.

While prices may change based on the provider, these prices do not include your healthcare provider’s consultation fees. If you decide to get an IUD, for example, you could be looking at around $2,500 out of pocket, then $800 – $1,000 plus for just the unit itself, and then insertion fees, doctor fees, or other costs.

Keep in mind that while some methods may be lower cost up-front, like the pill, some will be lower cost in the long run.

How do I get my BC without insurance

  • Option 1 is to consult a service like Nurx, who accepts most forms of insurance. At Nurx, you can order birth control prescriptions online with free delivery, and pills start at approximately $15 a month and are available in many states. The consult or prescription fee is $12, and there is a monthly fee for the medication itself. However, you don’t need insurance to get Nurx’s birth control – making it an efficient and low-cost option.
  • Option 2 would be to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider. Many know of low-cost options that could help you to pay for your coverage.
  • Option 3 is to call your local pharmacy to see if they offer any discounts, or take part in birth control prescription directly from the pharmacist, which saves you from having to visit a doctor’s office.
  • Option 4, if your doctor’s office, pharmacist, or Nurx are not a viable option for you, is to visit your local planned parenthood and speak to a representative who will help to match you to the best birth control option for you.

There are many options you can utilise in the event you don’t have health insurance. Research them all, and choose the one that works best for you.

Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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